Online Marketing 101 – SEO and SEM Basics

Online marketing is a broad term that refers to the marketing of goods and services using available digital technologies. The most common digital technology used is the internet. A company or business that has a website is already doing online marketing to advertise their business; promote their product and service offerings; and/or announce sales, promotions, news, and events. But the extent to which they are successful with their online marketing efforts is a different question altogether.

You already know how important online marketing is to the survival of your business. If you don’t market your company – or market it well – potential customers may never know you exist and they will shop elsewhere. By understanding the basics of online – digital – marketing, you have the knowledge and power to put digital marketing strategies and techniques to work for you.

As technology and digital platforms have evolved in recent years, so has online marketing, which, today, comes quite close to being an exact science. Online marketing is also known as internet marketing, digital marketing, and web marketing, and the phrases are often used interchangeably. Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) are two strategies that fall under the online marketing umbrella. They work in concert with each other to produce the desired results of increasing and enhancing a company’s online presence and relevance to targeted users – that is, to clients and potential clients – to improve conversions, increase web traffic, provide more qualified leads, and ultimately, grow the business and profits.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – involves taking steps on a website with the goal of increasing the site’s ranking and visibility within search engines, so that it can be easily found when people search for the goods or services the business offers.

  • SEO –

o   Follows and reacts to how search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing operate

o   Takes into account how users query and perform searches on the internet – including what they search for and the words or terms they use when performing a search

o   Looks for relevance and value in a website’s content

o   Involves having quality (well written) content and relevant backlinks, as well as a properly managed and maintained website in terms of HTML coding, sitemap, etc.

o   Requires removal of items and issues such as broken links that restrict a search engine’s ability to properly index a website

 

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – is placing paid online ads that appear alongside other search engine results when a user performs a search and meets the targeted location, demographic, and other criteria associated with the ad.

  • SEM

o   Can be an extremely valuable component in your company’s digital marketing efforts

o   Is also known as paid advertising, pay-per-click/keyword advertising, targeted advertising

o   Lets you to reach a target audience by placing an online marketing message directly in front of them

o   Involves bidding on the advertising and then paying when a viewer clicks on the ad

o   Incorporates SEO of keywords and phrases to increase traffic to your website as a result of a natural (organic) search query

o   Increases the visibility of your website by placing paid ads alongside user search results when they enter queries into search engines for the products or services you offer

o   Can be used in conjunction with social media marketing

SEO and SEM strategies both require close attention and maintenance to know what is, or is not, working. Savvy web developers continually test, monitor, and adjust ads to ensure each ad investment returns the maximum results. They track which keywords perform the best and can make real-time adjustments if they see something is not working or is performing poorly.

Why Do SEM?

The benefits of doing paid advertising include attracting more customers and new website traffic. A properly run ad campaign will rank well in search engine results, and ensure ads appear in front of the very people who are looking for a company’s specific services. This ensures the people who visit their site are the most qualified and are more likely to follow through with a phone call or inquiry.

Occasionally, the way search engines index web pages and websites and present results to search queries can change. Such changes can affect the performance of SEO and SEM which, in turn, may require a change in the strategy a company uses when doing its online marketing. Good web developers follow and stay abreast of the trends and updates in internet marketing that affect their clients, and inform and educate them on the topic. If your own web or IT team is too busy managing other aspects of your business or website to keep up with the lightning-fast changes that occur with internet and search engine marketing, contact a reputable web development company for information on the latest requirements. Some will even perform an audit of your website and recommend changes or updates you’ll need to make to ensure your existing digital marketing efforts remain effective.

Perfexion, Inc. specializes in online marketing and understands what is needed for a website and all related digital marketing efforts to perform at optimum levels and achieve maximum results and profitability.

 

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Responsive Web Design: Every Search, Click, and Scroll Matters

Responsive Web Design: Every Search, Click, and Scroll Matters

When it comes to websites, customer service and user experience go hand in hand. If users have a good experience with a website that responds to their every search, click, and scroll – that is, with every interaction they have on that site – they will equate those interactions to good customer service. The opposite holds true as well. Your products and services may be the best in the business, but if a user can’t locate them on your website, or they click on a link and are taken to an error page, or worse, they can’t properly view your website on their mobile device, they will equate that to poor customer service. At which time, they will click away and never return.

Websites should always be fully accessible, readable, and functional for people who view them (error-free goes without saying) – regardless of the type or size of screen the website is being viewed from. Statistics indicate that more than 65% of web searches performed today are done on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. If your website does not adjust dynamically for ease of reading on different devices, or images get blurry when a user pinches and expands them, your website is not responsive or mobile ready.

When building your website, responsiveness of design is one key factor to keep in mind. WordPress, the most popular tool for creating and managing websites and blogs, offers plenty of website themes with responsive design. That means that users will be able to easily read and use your website whether they’re looking at it on their desktop computer, their laptop, their tablet, or their mobile phone.

WordPress is popular for a variety of reasons, not the least of which are its ease of use and community forum that provides support on virtually any topic. In addition, WordPress as a content management system (CMS) offers:

  • Easy content creation and publication of web pages, posts, media, and more
  • Control over who can access/update your website and the functions they are permitted to perform
  • Drag-and-drop functionality to quickly and easily add images and other media to your website
  • Plugins to add other features such as calendars and social media
  • Search engine optimization so your website gets ranked and found on the internet

If your website is more informational and contains fewer functions than a website designed specifically for e-commerce, you can manage it perfectly well with WordPress CMS. As you build, change, and manage your WordPress website, with its responsive design functionality, new content and features will adapt to the responsive design, so you can be assured of always providing the best customer service and user experience to anyone who visits your website.

Two other content management systems assure website owners of responsiveness of design when used: Sitefinity™ and Kentico. If your website is complex, such as an extensive corporate website, and/or contains e-commerce (online shopping) functionality, Sitefinity and Kentico offer high-end CMS solutions to support the detailed and more technical needs these types of websites require.

Similar to WordPress in terms of the page management and user access features they offer, Sitefinity and Kentico offer additional functionality right out of the box:

  • Websites are mobile ready, which means you create your website once and it automatically adapts to a variety of devices and screen sizes. You can preview how your website will appear on different screen sizes, and adjust content if necessary.
  • With responsiveness of design, you present a unified brand message and you do so consistently across all types of devices and marketing channels such as social media, which makes for a singular user brand experience.

Beyond the direct website experience, a CMS can be set up for other functions you want as part of your user experience. For example, you probably want to include a series of automated emails to be sent as certain user activity triggers them: Welcome, abandoned cart, Thank You, delivery confirmation, and more. Or you want to send product news, sale information, or coupons. Given the mobile nature of our society, more people are doing business on their mobile devices than on desktop computers. Responsive design makes sure your entire message gets seen and is easy to respond to, so people will want to do business with you.

Website owners should choose the most appropriate content management system for their needs – based on the amount and level of functionality and complexity of their website. But, whether your website is simple or complex, if you want your website to display accurately on both desktop and mobile devices, make sure every aspect of your website contains responsiveness of design.

Responsive design is vital to engaging customers and users. If they can’t view and navigate around your site on their smartphone or tablet, they will move on to one they can. If you have limited expertise in website design and management, or you would rather spend time running your business than managing your website, consider consulting with a professional web design and development company. Perfexion, Inc. is a web design and development company that understand responsive design and how it interplays with CMS. Perfexion specializes in helping clients market their business online effectively – and profitably. Contact them today to schedule your consultation.

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Why Hire a Professional Web Design Company

Best Reasons to Hire a Professional Web Design Company

Few business owners dispute the need to have a website. How else will current and prospective customers know about the products and services their business offers and the unique value they bring to the market? Or the company’s history and mission? Or how to find or communicate with the business? Frequent changes and updates to a website support a company’s ability to attract new customers and expand into different markets, if desired.

Done right, a website also serves as a forum for business owners to target, reach, and communicate with, desired clients; educate and inform visitors to their site about topics related to business offerings via blogs, company updates, or a FAQ section; and receive feedback, inquiries, and concerns about customer needs.

Some business owners prefer to design and build their website themselves, via readily available user-friendly apps and platforms (although user-friendly is debatable). They might be looking to save money or already have a design in mind. Sound familiar? While these may seem like good reasons to build your own website, by doing your own, you risk losing business if your website comes across as unprofessional, disorganized, not secure—or worse, no one knows your website exists.
Your site may have eye-catching colors, attractive images, and easy-to-read/easy-to-understand content (text). But these are only a small portion of what goes into making an effective, high-performing website. For all the beauty and graphics your site displays, if your website is not coming up in internet searches, the weekend and evening hours you spent building the site were for naught.

The 4 Best Reasons to Hire a Professional Web Designer
If you’re still not convinced your website needs a professional touch, consider these top 4 reasons to hire a professional web design company.

1. Visual appeal and function – The text, colors, and graphics on your website matter. The look and feel of your website, and how easily users can navigate the pages and find the information they’re looking for also matter. Professional designers will tie these elements together to make sure your website is attractive and functional, as well as user-centered.

2. Search engine optimization – Search engine optimization (SEO) is critical if your website is to be found when people perform an internet search for your type of business on one of the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, or Bing. This traffic, derived from organic searches rather than from a user clicking on an ad, is like gold in that the traffic is due to people looking for exactly what you have to offer! SEO involves using both the right keywords and phrases as well as the right creative elements to improve your search engine rankings and generate traffic to your website.

Web designers work in conjunction with web developers, who add the necessary ingredients behind the scenes to ensure a website not only gets found on the internet, but also ranks high in relevant searches.
What is more, web design, along with solid web development, makes use of programming language, behind-the-scenes codes and tags, and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to set up all the technical aspects of a website.

3. Value-added technology – Every website can benefit from using additional technologies that help drive traffic to the site. These include videos that demonstrate how products work, an RSS feed that provides the latest industry updates, and links to other pages or relevant materials on the internet or on social media, among others. And, when properly positioned and coded, all enhance the ranking of your website for internet searches. Do-it-yourself web designers either don’t include these valuable technologies or they add or place them in a way that does not benefit the business.

4. Results tracking and analytics – A professional web designer will know how to design your website so you get more conversions, that is, actions you want visitors to your website to complete, such as fill out a contact form, click to another page, call you, or buy a product. The pros will set up your Google Analytics so you can track results via a dashboard. To measure success, you’ll track such Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as new visitors to your website vs. repeat visitors, number of visits to your site before a user makes a purchase, bounce rate (how often a user clicks off a page)—and many others. By understanding these metrics, you or your designer will know what is working and where you might need to make changes to improve performance.

If you truly wish to be competitive in the online marketplace, use a professional web design service for your website. The vast majority of businesses today rely on their website—and its optimum performance—for the success of their operations. The value provided by a web design service far outweighs the results you might obtain by designing and managing your website on your own. For more information on how a professional web designer can help your business, contact Perfexion, Inc. today. They specialize in helping clients market their business online effectively and profitably.

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Understanding Mobile Marketing

Understanding Mobile Marketing

Without a doubt, the world has gone mobile. People everywhere rely on their mobile devices—smartphones and tablets—to shop, for entertainment, for conducting business, for learning and information, for communicating, and much more. As early as 2010, industry experts predicted our use of mobile devices would surpass our use of desktop PCs. They were right. According to a March 2017 report by comScore, 69% of the time spent on digital media is attributed to mobile usage over desktop.
Most businesses today understand the need to do digital marketing. If they have a website—as they should—they are already doing a form of digital marketing via the internet. Many of these companies also develop separate marketing campaigns to work on mobile devices. Those who are not have some serious catching-up to do. Now, more than ever, ensuring your business is optimized and ready for use on mobile devices should be a priority.

If you are new to mobile marketing or have limited knowledge of what mobile marketing entails, the first question you should ask is: What is mobile marketing? Mobile marketing is a digital—online—marketing strategy that encompasses multiple channels for reaching a specific target audience via their mobile device. Digital marketing channels range from display ads to apps to email coupons to text messaging (SMS) to video and more.

Compare these to traditional marketing channels such as print (newspapers, brochures, magazines) and broadcast (radio and TV ads). Two key differences stand out between digital and traditional marketing: the cost to run a marketing campaign and the ability to measure a campaign’s success. In a word, digital marketing is more cost effective than traditional marketing, and measuring the results and success of a digital campaign is quick and easy, and can even be done in real time if necessary.

Now that you understand the value in digital marketing, the next question to ask is: Why do mobile marketing? Google provides plenty of reasons in their report entitled “Micro-Moments: Your Guide to Winning the Shift to Mobile.” They define micro-moments as “critical touch points within today’s consumer journey, and when added together, they ultimately determine how that journey ends.” In other words, consumers expect companies to be available to address their needs at any time. For many people, their smartphone is their lifeline; as such, they use their device to conduct searches, find places, do things, and shop and compare prices virtually around the clock.

Mobile marketing campaigns vary depending on business type and service offering. Finding what works for your business is key. For example, a restaurant might find that sending an email containing a discount coupon is more effective at garnering new and repeat business than placing a coupon in a monthly mailer. Most users would rather bring up the coupon or code on their phone than cut one out of a magazine.
Keep these tips in mind when planning your own mobile marketing campaign.

• Take a test drive. Test the mobile marketing strategies your favorite businesses (or competitors) promote. Buy something or place an order from a mobile app to get a feel for a shopping experience. See how the ordering and payment processes work. When you test different mobile marketing strategies, you figure out what you like or don’t like, and what works or does not work. The experiences will give you a better feel for what might work for your business.
• Check your website. Is it user friendly? Is it mobile ready, meaning, does it display and function properly on tablets and phones? Having mobile ready/mobile responsive website is a must if you want users to have the best possible experience with your online business.
• List your business on location-based platforms that let you run promotions on different mobile apps and social media. When you do, users can check in and take advantage of your current promotion.
• Talk with an expert. A digital marketing company will provide recommendations for increasing your online presence. Additionally, they can integrate platforms and tools you use, as well as track results and adjust programs easily.

Businesses today should rely on mobile marketing as a key—if not the key—marketing strategy for getting in front of their target audience. For more information on how mobile marketing can work for your business, contact the professionals at Perfexion, Inc. today. They specialize in helping clients market their business effectively and profitably.

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